A tax rate tale

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

A gentleman who lives on Brewer Avenue came to the office yesterday to see us about the tax situation.

He's on a fixed income, lives in one of the older homes on Brewer Avenue, which, until the recent past was not one of the city's most desirable addresses and homes were priced accordingly.

Now, as noted in this blog a couple weeks ago, two homes on Brewer are selling for upwards of $400,000. Since selling prices of surrounding homes impact assessments, he was not pleased.

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We wanted to interview him for a story but he was shy, I suppose, and didn't want the publicity.

Technically, he's out of luck. Assessments and the way they are established are governed by state regulations. There's nothing that can be done about it on that level. What's more, as areas around downtown continue to develop, redevelop and generally prosper, it's a situation that's going to become more and more common.

What will happen to him and others like him? Will real estate taxes eventually drive them out of their homes? It's what has happened many times over in large cities across the country. When yuppies decide something is chic, they move in and others are generally moved out to make room.

The only relief available to him can come from city council. There is elderly tax relief available, but I don't know how great an impact that has. And what about those who are not elderly? I don't believe there's any relief available for them

Over the next month, city council is going to be considering what to do about the tax rate. I don't know the answer, but I do know it's a problem for many of our city's residents.